News

New ‘Heartbleed’ bug poses threat to data security

New ‘Heartbleed’ bug poses threat to data security

HEARTBLEED:The finding of the so-called "Heartbleed" vulnerability, by researchers with Google Inc and a small security firm Codenomicon, prompted the U.S. government's Department of Homeland Security to advise businesses on Tuesday to review their servers to see if they were using vulnerable versions, a type of software known as OpenSSL. Photo: Reuters

BOSTON (Reuters) – A newly discovered bug in widely used Web encryption technology has made data on many of the world’s major websites vulnerable to theft by hackers in what experts say is one of the most serious security flaws uncovered in recent years.

The finding of the so-called “Heartbleed” vulnerability, by researchers with Google Inc and a small security firm Codenomicon, prompted the U.S. government’s Department of Homeland Security to advise businesses on Tuesday to review their servers to see if they were using vulnerable versions, a type of software known as OpenSSL.

It said updates are already available to address the vulnerability in OpenSSL, which could enable remote attackers to access sensitive data including passwords and secret keys that can decode traffic as it travels across the Internet.

“We have tested some of our own services from attacker’s perspective. We attacked ourselves from outside, without leaving a trace,” Codenomicon said on a website it built to provide information about the threat, heartbleed.com.

Computer security experts warned that means victims cannot tell if their data has been accessed which is troubling because the bug has existed for about two years.

“If a website is vulnerable I could see things like your password, banking information and healthcare data, which you were under the impression you were sending securely to your website,” said Michael Coates, director of product security for Shape Security.

Chris Eng, vice president of research with software security firm Veracode, said he estimates that hundreds of thousands of web and email servers around the globe need to be patched as soon as possible to protect them from attack by hackers who will rush to exploit the vulnerability now that it is publicly known.

The technology website Ars Technica reported that security researcher Mark Loman was able to extract data from Yahoo Mail servers by using a free tool.

A spokesperson for Yahoo Inc confirmed that Yahoo Mail was vulnerable to attack, but said it had been patched along with other main Yahoo sites such as Yahoo Search, Finance, Sports, Flickr and Tumblr.

“We are working to implement the fix across the rest of our sites right now,” she said on Tuesday evening.

(Reporting by Jim Finkle; additional reporting by Alexei Oreskovic in San Francisco)

Recent Headlines

1 hour ago in Sports

The best sports shots this week

Fresh
A horse is ridden to the track for a workout at Churchill Downs Thursday, May 5, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. The 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 7. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A look back at some of the biggest plays and best moments in sports this week.

1 hour ago in Sports

The weekend sports schedule

Fresh
derby16125540087682

Here’s a look at some of the sporting events taking place this weekend.

2 hours ago in Local

Porch fire at Farm Street caused by cigarette

Fresh
thumbnail_FIRE

Cigarettes are the leading cause of home fires in the country.

3 hours ago in National

Making headlines this week

A member of the NATO parachute demonstration team lands during a change of command ceremony at NATO military headquarters in Mons, southern Belgium on Wednesday May 4, 2016. U.S. Army General Curtis  M. Scaparrotti was installed as NATO's 18th supreme allied commander Europe (SACEUR). The commander, by tradition an American general or admiral, is responsible for the overall direction and conduct of NATO's global military operations. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

A look back at some of the biggest stories this week and the headlines you may have missed.

3 hours ago in Lifestyle, National

Anti-hunger group uses fake app to fool, educate

18-overlay

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 14 percent of Americans, or more than 17 million people, are what is called food insecure, meaning at times of the year, they are uncertain of being able to acquire enough food for their household.